Carlos Sainz Jr will make his World Rally Championship debut as the course car driver for the Power Stage of the 2018 season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo this weekend.

Sainz Jr, son of two-time WRC champion and recent Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz, will drive the 13.58km La Cabanette-Col de Braus Power Stage which concludes the Rallye Monte-Carlo in the new Renault Megane R.S. as part of a promotional tie-up with his Formula 1 squad Renault Sport F1.

Sainz will drive the course car which checks the stage before the timed WRC contenders starting in the Alpes-Maritimes surrounding the Principality of Monaco before descending through a series of tight hairpin bends and climbing again over a high mountain pass to end at the Col de Braus.

“I’m really looking forward to experiencing Rallye Monte-Carlo for the first time,” Sainz said. “I’ve heard so much about it from my dad – how difficult the stages are, how the conditions can change in an instant from snow to rain or bright sunshine and of course how you need nerves of steel for some of those mountain passes and hairpins!

“It’s going to be a real thrill to take part in such a legendary event behind the wheel of a Renault Megane R.S, which will be fitted with snow and studded tyres so I can get a more complete sensation of rallying around these stages.”

Sainz’s father was a three-time winner of the iconic rally in 1991, 1995 and 1998 having also secured two WRC titles plus two Dakar Rally triumphs.

The 2018 WRC season opener begins this Thursday (25th January) before wrapping up with the Power Stage on the Sunday (28th January) afternoon.

Sainz becomes the latest F1 driver to take on a new challenge during the off-season with fellow countryman Fernando Alonso preparing for his Rolex 24-hour race in Daytona, with Lance Stroll also competing at the US endurance event, while Lewis Hamilton has been snowboarding in Japan and Kimi Raikkonen has been ice karting in Switzerland.

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